A Conservative Christian Witch Hunt

'Fixer Upper' couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines, are vilified for possible belief in traditional marriage

The liberal media’s trying to ensnare Chip and Joanna Gaines of “Fixer Upper” in their noisy crossfire.

An article published on Buzzfeed earlier this week has caused a great deal of heated debate. The author of the controversial piece, Kate Aurthur, wrote about a church in Waco, Texas, that has spoken out against same-sex marriage. Quoting the pastor on his teaching that marriage is a covenant created by God intended to be between one man and one woman, Aurthur proceeded to then throw two of the parishioners under the bus.

Shaming people for their faith is not the way to embrace diversity.

Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s hit series “Fixer Upper” are members of this church. The Gaines couple have become a household name — and built a successful empire in Waco. They also happen to be conservative Christians.

Posted on the same day as the premiere of the show’s fourth season, the article entitled, “Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Church Is Firmly Against Same-Sex Marriage” asked the question: “Are the Gaineses against same-sex marriage?” It also wonders, “Would they ever feature a same-sex couple on the show?”

Although the Gaineses have not yet personally released a statement, HGTV responded to the article on Thursday with the following: “We don’t discriminate against members of the LGBT community in any of our shows. HGTV is proud to have a crystal clear, consistent record of including people from all walks of life in its series.”

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In the past 48 hours, many have defended the Gaines couple, including Brandon Ambrosino, an openly gay and engaged man.

Ambrosino wrote a response for The Washington Post, defending the Gaineses and suggesting the “hit piece” by Aurthur is dangerous. He explains he has friends and family members who will not attend his upcoming wedding, but he adamantly states, “I do not think these conservatives should be shamed or mocked. I do not think they should be fired. And I certainly do not think they should be the butt of a popular BuzzFeed article.”

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Disagreement on this issue can be more than uncomfortable, especially considering that four in 10 Americans still oppose same-sex marriage.

After all, these are the core personal beliefs that ultimately influence decisions made in life. Although potentially tense, it seems there is no longer room for conversation with those who are in opposition to this opinion. When did disagreeing make the disagreeing party hateful?

Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the entire article is that nothing is actually based on any statements by Chip or Joanna Gaines. The entire argument is made on an assumption by the author.

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The same assumption vilifies people not for their own convictions, but for those of their pastor, friends, or family members. There is no allowance for discussion, conversation, or common sense. Instead, the media once again seemingly and generally focuses their attention on the destruction of conservative Christians who may hold traditional beliefs. There is then the demand by the media to take a position publicly and face the consequences.

Enforcing views by shouting down the opposition is hardly conducive to creative thought or argument. Shaming people for their faith is not the way to embrace diversity. Do we want to be a society of people that bullies one another into submission or even isolation? Or do we want to embrace the uniqueness that each person possesses — his or her own thoughts, ideas, points of view — and attempt to find common ground in our likenesses rather than abhorring one another for our differences?

This is a conversation worth having. It is delicate and emotional. And there are always people who unfortunately will say hateful things — on both sides of the argument. But that doesn’t mean everyone on one side or another is hateful. It doesn’t mean every person who holds to traditional Christian beliefs should be shunned or hunted down in their personal or professional lives until they concede to a more acceptable conclusion.

There is still and always will be, one hopes, the potential to agree to disagree.

Katie Nations is a wife of 15 years and a working mother of three young children. She lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. 

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